This entry is from our Expert Guest series where wedding and honeymoon professionals share their best tips on creating memories that last a lifetime.
As a wedding photographer, I hear one sentence over and over: “I hate having my photo taken.” Being camera shy is pretty much a universal experience, even for photographers who spend every day taking other people’s pictures! (Yep—me too!)
If you’re not a supermodel, you’re probably not used to spending a lot of time posing in front of the camera and having all eyes on you. Add to that the stress of a wedding day and you’re just asking for an overwhelming, awkward, and unpleasant experience.
But I promise, wedding photos don’t have to feel like you’re being chased by the paparazzi. A few tricks can help you feel confident and natural in front of the camera.
Feeling Comfortable in Your Wedding Photos
Just like with learning any new skill: practice makes perfect. Find some inspiration photos on Pinterest and recreate the poses with your partner in front of the mirror. Learning how you look and move together will make it a lot easier to pose as a couple and take directions. This will also help you work out the kinks for more difficult poses you may want to try, like a dip or spin.
Find the Right Photographer
Your choice of photographer can make or break your experience. Make sure to read through reviews first to get a sense of how other clients feel about their experience. While many photographers will list testimonials on their own website, you won’t find any critical reviews there. Try searching their business name on Google or Yelp for a broader selection of reviews.
After you’ve narrowed the field to your top picks, follow up by scheduling an in-person meeting or a video chat before booking. Just like with friends, there are people you’ll instantly click with and people who aren’t the right fit for you. You should feel like they’re “your kind of person”. Of all your vendors, your photographer is the one you’ll be spending the most time with, so they should be someone who you feel comfortable around.
Take a Closer Look at Their Portfolio
Photographers who have a knack for making people feel comfortable will also have a portfolio that really shows off that skill. If a lot of their photos are taken from up close, the photographer probably interacts a lot with their clients. Photographers who shoot wide, sweeping shots where the couples are further away will have to keep their clients in a particular pose as they step away to get the shot, so you can expect less interaction and direction from this style.
Take a look at the expressions of the couples in that photographer’s portfolio. Do they look like they’re having fun? Take a minute to look at a few of the more subtle body language indicators. Are the muscles in their jaws and necks tight or do they seem relaxed and natural? Do the corners of their eyes wrinkle as they smile? These are easy ways to get a sense for whether the subjects were feeling at ease during their photos and could give you an idea of what your own experience might be.
Don’t Skip the Engagement Photos
Think of the engagement session as a trial run: It gives you a chance to experience how your photographer works and allows you to get real-time feedback without the time crunch of a wedding day. When you get the photos back you’ll see that you actually can look cute, even when you think you don’t know what you’re doing. (And if you don’t like the photos or don’t click with your photographer after all, it gives you a chance to figure that out before you commit to hiring them for your wedding day!)
Make Room in Your Schedule
When you’re rushed for time, everything is more stressful. Build lots of time into your schedule for photos and add buffer time between everything to make room for the unexpected. Your photographer can give you their estimate of how much time to set aside, but you’ll want to have at least one hour set aside especially for photos. Consider doing a first look (a private moment where you and your spouse-to-be see each other before the ceremony) so you can have more time for portraits earlier in the day and you’re not in a rush to get to your reception. Having extra time will give you a chance to ease into the photo process and avoid the pressure of having to jump into the next activity.
Don’t Hesitate to Say No
I always remind people when I’m taking their photos: you’re the boss! If you don’t want to do a pose or ever feel uncomfortable, let your photographer know. You’ve hired your photographer to get great photos of you and create a positive experience for you, so you are always allowed to say no. If your photographer suggests a pose that makes you uncomfortable or just doesn’t feel like “you”, just let them know. Any professional will be happy to accommodate and I promise we aren’t offended when you speak up. At the end of the day, we really just want to get photos you love and have a great time while we’re taking them!
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||ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jade Elora is a wedding and engagement photographer based in Los Angeles, California. Her style is creative, romantic, and full of color. She specializes in capturing genuine moments and creating a relaxed, positive photography experience.